OOH Mandatory Calorie Labelling 2021 | Menu Calorie Labels

January 20, 2021

In July 2020 Boris Johnson stated calorie labelling would come into force but “no earlier than October 2021”, this will require secondary legislation under the Food Safety Act 1990, however, there is currently no set date for implementation (this is something we will keep an eye on).

The main reason for calorie labelling is to ensure individuals are making healthy choices and to reduce the rate of obesity within the UK. Having clear information about the calorie content of food and drinks is key to ensure families can make informed, healthy choices for themselves when dining out of the home. This legislation will be for restaurants, cafes, pubs, coffee shops and takeaways.

According to the government legislation, we are eating out more often, with 43% of people eating out once or twice a week. When eating out, adults eat 200+ more calories per day compared to when they prepare and eat food at home. Restaurant and takeaway meals often serve bigger portions, meaning even more calories.

Government advice

The government are suggesting businesses voluntarily make calorie reduction decisions, one example:

• 20% calorie reduction for most meals in the eat out of home takeaway and delivery sector (only applies to large businesses with more than 250 employees).

For more information click here.

Alongside this guidance, there is new salt reduction goals to reduce salt levels in certain foods to prevent high blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes., for more information please click here.

Future Policy - High in fat, sugar and salt (HFSS)

As part of the obesity strategy and as well as mandatory out of home calorie labelling, unhealthy choices like crisps, chocolate and fizzy drinks will be banned from checkouts and end of aisles.

The government has also announced plans to restrict promotions of food and drink products that are high in fat, sugar and salt (HFSS), buy one get one free promotions on unhealthy foods from April 2020 will be banned, as well as free refills on fizzy drinks to help tackle obesity.

Promoting healthier alternatives is urged. Businesses need to consider price promotions on healthier eating choices available to consumers in supermarkets.

Alcohol Calorie Labelling

There is also further guidance on alcoholic drinks. The government are discussing adding calorie labels to alcohol in the OOH sector. This will be in place for all drinks with an alcohol volume of over 1.2%.

Public Health England’s National Diet and Nutrition Survey (2014) suggest that, for those that drink alcohol, it accounts for nearly 10% of the calories they consume. With 80% of us unsure the calories that are in common alcoholic drink, this could be an effective measure to increase awareness and encourage people to make healthier choices.


For more information click here.

Where will the calorie information be displayed? (A proposed arrangement).

According to the legislation, calorie information will be provided to consumers at the point of choice where prices are displayed. For example, on a menu in a restaurant. If a menu/meal choice is located at several points e.g., an app and a digital board, calorie information should be shown at all points.

The information needs to be displayed whether that is sides, toppings, drinks, seasonal dishes, specials, buffets, salad bars and sauces.

In addition to displaying the number of total calories, businesses will be required to include a declaration referring to a woman’s daily recommended daily intake on the menu.

It is very important to have some context behind the calorie labels, contextual labelling has been shown to be more effective at encouraging consumers to purchase fewer calories than simply displaying the calorie total.

How to implement calorie labelling effectively into your business?

We are food safety consultants that help restaurants, retailers and food business operators reach the calorie, salt and sugar reduction targets through the new Calorie Target feature on Smart Supplier 2020. Smart Supplier will intuitively calculate your progress and communicate with Public Health England.

Smart Supplier lets you select a food category/dish and immediately see if it reaches the 20/10% calorie reduction ambitions, making compliance effortless and simple. The software will also report back to senior teams, keeping everyone in your business up to date on your progress reaching the calorie reductions target.

Integrating a Calorie Target feature within Smart Supplier means simultaneously controlling data whilst complying to legislations. We can help build a report on your products across your portfolio and analyse the calorie values against the calorie reduction target categories from PHE.

We also offer software to automate nutritional information. Smart Chef shows the nutritional profile of each recipe allowing you to see if new products are complying to targets as soon as a recipe is built. This allows you to build a new menu whilst complying with the calorie reduction targets.

If you want to voluntarily implement calorie labelling now, call 01933 272089 or email info@ntassure.com to book in a consultation with one of our software specialists.

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